Online PhD in Civil Engineering

Online programs in civil engineering are readily available and are just as rigorous as their brick and mortar counterparts. Read the article below to find out more about what is involved in getting a PhD in civil engineering online. Schools offering Civil Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Curriculum for Online Civil Engineering PhDs

Credit hours for obtaining a PhD in Civil Engineering range from around 25 to 40 credit hours if you already have a master's degree in engineering to around 50 to 60 credit hours if you are entering the program from undergraduate school. The curriculum includes coursework, qualifying exams, which show a student is ready for doctoral-level work, comprehensive exams, which culminate the program academically, and then finally the dissertation study, write up, and oral defense.

Traffic Courses

Traffic courses look at roadway design from an overall flow perspective. Topics of study can include statistical models of traffic flow, intersection timing, and the use of digital simulation in traffic engineering. These courses not only look at building new structures for roadways but also how to efficiently improve existing structures.

Urban Transportation Courses

Roads are not the only means of transportation that civil engineers work with - railways, interstate systems, and other modes of transportation are all in the realm of civil engineering. Courses in this area focus on how to design and analyze railway and highway infrastructure for stability and integrity. They may even go into the operations and logistics of railway or other mass transit systems used to move large amounts of people and goods over vast distances. Courses like these can also go over bridge and terminal design, taking into account factors such as train-bridge interaction and environmental vibrations.

Soil Courses

The study of soils comes in several forms in civil engineering - some courses study soil mechanics or the how earth behaves under loads, while others examine soil content and what it means for the building site. Students can also examine slopes and embankments, including the study of lateral pressure and retaining systems for structures placed on slopes. Courses may even go into blast loading for building purposes.

Structural Dynamics Courses

These courses can come in many iterations and can discuss topics such as structural vibrations, the mechanics of structure, and structural dynamics. Students learn how to create safe, stabile constructions, including stable foundations for structures. The study of foundations may include courses specifically dealing with, for instance, concrete and how to analyze and design buildings utilizing it or even the specifications for building wooden structures.

Water Courses

In water treatment courses, students study the dynamics of a water treatment system, how to construct and maintain said systems, and the science behind different types of water treatment. Civil engineering students might also take hydraulics and/or hydrology courses, which study the movement of water across land. Students may examine sediment transport and learn how to conduct a rainfall-runoff analysis.

Careers with an Online PhD in Civil Engineering

Geotechnical Engineer

This is probably the most obvious career option of the bunch - civil engineers work to build efficient, safe, integrated city systems. This work includes designing buildings, bridges, roadways, and other infrastructure. Civil engineers look at long term plans for cities, oversee construction sites, and work to achieve cost effective and safe environments. Individuals with a PhD in Civil Engineering might qualify for advanced positions, such as a geotechnical engineer who evaluates a site's subsurface and conducts forensic engineering investigations.

Director of Urban and Regional Planning

Urban planners meet with city officials and discuss the feasibility of city plans, urbanization, and other municipal building projects. They conduct research, formulate plans, and do feasibility studies. Individuals with a civil engineering PhD might take on positions as directors, where they oversee a team responsible for developing an organization's urban development initiatives.

Technical Expert in Geospatial Information/Surveying

Surveyors map out building projects using geospatial information systems to provide precise measurements and layouts of the land. Someone with an extensive education in civil engineering might be in charge of research and development projects focusing on new geospatial technologies and applications.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Geotechnical Engineer$86,640 (for all civil engineers) 6% (for all civil engineers)
Director of Urban and Regional Planning $73,050 (for all urban and regional planners)11% (for all urban and regional planners)
Technical Expert in Geospatial Information/Surveying $62,580 (for all surveyors)6% (for all surveyors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Obtaining a PhD in Civil Engineering via an online platform is certainly doable. These programs are intensive, cover a wide variety of practical material, and culminate in the defense of a dissertation study.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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